Dawn Harper and God’s Special Plan for Her Life (Gospel Light Minute #64)

Dawn Harper
Dawn Harper

She is an American track and field athlete who specializes in the 100 meter hurdles. She was the gold medalist in the 100 meter hurdles at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. During her time with the UCLA Bruins, she won the sprint hurdles at the US Junior Championships and at the Pan American Junior Athletics Championships. She received All-American honours twice at the 2004 NCAA Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championship, after coming eighth in the 100 meter hurdles final and taking second place in the 4×100-meter relay. She ran 12.61 seconds to win a silver medal at the 2009 IAAF World Athletics Final. She qualified first at the 2012 United States Summer Olympic Trials and is competing in London.

She says of her faith, “My faith was definitely a part of me growing up. I went to church on Sundays, but I knew that God was real in my life. A lot of people start to look towards God when they get hurt, and when I hurt myself as a sophomore and had knee surgery, the doctors told me I would probably never run as fast again. I was only 15 years old and track was what I wanted to do. So when I came back from that, I realized God had a much bigger plan for me. And then, when I had knee surgery before the 2008 Olympics, that just sealed the deal. I was thinking, ‘There is another plan for me that I may not see for myself. I’m supposed to reach out to other people and show them what God can do because of what He’s done through me.’ I knew that it was all about giving God the glory. And once I crossed the finish line, that’s the first thing that crossed my mind. A lot of people call me the “What” girl because once I won the race, you can watch the footage and see that I’m saying “What” over and over again. But what I was saying, was that from this big ole globe, God chose this little girl from East Saint Louis out of all the kids who have said, ‘I want to go to the Olympics.’ He knew that I could handle this—the knee surgery and all of the things that come with being an Olympic champion. He took the girl that no one thought would win. He chose me. He entrusted me with this. And after that race in 2008, I just broke down crying.” Her name is Dawn Harper.

Lolo Jones: How Faith and Determination Took Her to the Top (Gospel Light Minute #63)

[audio http://gospellightminute.buzzsprout.com/3192/54404-lolo-jones-how-faith-and-determination-took-her-to-the-top-gospel-light-minute-63.mp3]
Lolo Jones
Lolo Jones

She is a star American track and field athlete who specializes in the 60 and 100 meter hurdles. She won three NCAA titles and garnered 11 All-American honors while at Louisiana State University. She won indoor national titles in 2007, 2008 and 2009 in the 60 meter hurdles, with gold medals at the World Indoor Championship in 2008 and 2010. She went on to win silver at the 2008 World Athletics Final. She is the American record holder in the 60 meter hurdles with a time of 7.72. She recently placed third in the 100 meter hurdles at the U.S. Olympics trials, qualifying her for a spot on the 2012 Summer Olympics team.

Growing up with a difficult childhood in Iowa, she often had to shoplift dinners for her family to survive. Her mother worked two jobs to support her family of six. Her father was, for the most part, in the Air Force, and later in state prison. While in third grade, her family settled down in the basement of a Salvation Army church; and she had to wake up early each morning to avoid being teased by other children who found out about her situation. When her family was about to move again to another city in Iowa, she told her mother, “Mom, I can’t go to a city that doesn’t have a track. I’m trying to pursue my dream.” At that time, her and her family parted ways. She lived with four different families throughout her high school years while at the same time she kept up her grades and fought to fulfill her dream.

She often speaks of how her strong faith in God helped pull her through difficult times. And she has a ritual of reading the Bible before a race and listening to Christian music. She created a buzz when she recently revealed in an interview the difficulty of remaining a virgin until marriage. She said that “This journey of staying a virgin until marriage has been hard — Harder than training for the Olympics and harder than graduating from college. It’s just something, a gift I want to give to my husband.” Her name is Lolo Jones.